Francesco Rizzo’s latest collection is an impassioned call for global community

Marni is here to remind us that “I” isn’t cool. The mythos of radical individualism that has run rampant through fashion, fashion marketing, and fashion influencing for the past decade is no longer cool. What’s cool is a global community. What’s cool is being a part of something larger than one’s own self. What’s cool is to connect with and care about people that we may never see or even meet.

In the time of coronavirus, social unrest and a shifting world order, Marni’s latest collection is a handmade—with design team reportedly dyeing clothing in their bathtubs—marriage of tri-color discipline and the vigorous impasto of a tortured artist. 

For creative director Francesco Risso, the Italian fashion house’s latest offering is an eccentric and experimental collection—an expression of artistic frustration with the state of the world, with Risso calling it “a collective effort.” For the presentation, Risso enlisted friends in all corners of the globe to showcase the clothing with unvarnished honesty, forgoing a Milan-based fashion spectacle for a global show. “Real people” received pieces before the show was available to the public and strutted across various cities across the world clad in full Marni looks. 

In many ways, the collection is a referendum on the rules and mores of the high fashion universe, debunking fashion shibboleths: the need for a grandiose show, traditional garment production, artistic execution, control of supply chain, and public release. It’s presentation, in many respects, compliments the collective effort to slow the spread of coronavirus (and few nations were hit as hard as Italy).  

Curiously, the brand has opted for a collection that is almost entirely designed in red, white and black (buttressed by floral patterns that are emblematic of the Italian fashion house). It’s part of a larger pattern we’ve seen in 2020: more cohesion throughout all collections this season;  marked by minimalist color palettes, the return of uniforms and narrow structures and silhouettes. The glaring uniformity of Marni’s tri-color palette is clearly on display in the context of global unity. Uniformity can be a troubling prospect (I’ll let you cogitate on the types of groups that wear uniforms). But in a fashion context, uniformity now feels like a deep political statement, reminding us that the collective is greater than the individual. In the red, white and black, a reminder: we are stronger together.

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